Pogo Punk

Pogo Punk is a distinctive subgenre that resides within the broader spectrum of Street Punk and Oi! music. It originated and gained prominence in the late ’90s and early 2000s, primarily through Japanese bands.

What is Pogo Punk?

Pogo Punk is a distinctive subgenre that resides within the broader spectrum of Street Punk and Oi! music. It originated and gained prominence in the late ’90s and early 2000s, primarily through Japanese bands. The term “Pogo Punk” was popularized by these Japanese bands, and its foundation was significantly influenced by the Tokyo-based label Pogo 77. This influential label, founded by Noriyasu Imamura, who is also a member of bands like Tom & Boots Boys, Asuka And The Bum Servants, and Punk And Disorderly, played a vital role in shaping and fostering the Pogo Punk scene in Japan. The style’s name is derived from the energetic dance style known as pogo dancing, which has been associated with punk music since as early as 1976.

tokyo-punx-chris-low
Tokyo punks, 📸 Chris Low

Musical Characteristics

Pogo Punk draws its musical elements from the classic UK82, Oi!, and street punk movements. The music typically features a fast, catchy, and upbeat sound, accompanied by snotty vocals distinct from the harsh or growling vocals commonly found in UK82 and traditional street punk genres. The style heavily relies on anthemic gang vocals and choruses reminiscent of spirited football fans singing in British pubs.

Themes and Identity

Many Pogo Punk bands emphasize their working-class backgrounds, presenting a contrast to the anger, despair, and “no future” attitude often associated with British punk. Instead, Pogo Punk exudes a more positive disposition, with songs centered around themes of drinking, having fun, and reveling in the aftermath of a challenging workweek. Additionally, Pogo Punk embraces concepts like unity between punks and non-racist skinheads (captured in slogans like “Punx & Skins United”) and pride in living the punk lifestyle.

Influences and Global Reach

Although the style originated in Japan, the initial wave of Japanese Pogo Punk bands drew significant inspiration from earlier Western acts such as GBH, Skeptix, and The Ejected (UK), Funeral Dress (Belgium), Antidote (Netherlands), as well as German bands like Pestpocken, Oxymoron, and SS-Kaliert. The influence also extended to the US scene, with bands like (the early) Casualties, Blanks 77, Clit 45, The Virus, Lower Class Brats, Cheap Sex, Devotchkas, and others shaping the Pogo Punk movement.

kentaro-asuka
Japanese punks Kentaro (The Erections) and Asuka (Asuka And The Bum Servants)

Pogo Punk Bands

  • First Wave Pogo Punk: The Discocks, Tom & Boot Boys, Asuka And The Bum Servants, The Erections, The Couch, OO Squad, Spiky Brats, Pogo Machines, Shit-Faced, Hat Trickers, Boobs Shit, 4Spikes, The Injections, Drunk Boi!s, Beer Belly, Spiky Joys, Oi!Driver, SquelchPunx, etc.
  • Second Wave Pogo Punk: Who Killed Spikey Jacket?, Punx Attack, Bad English, Rejected Scums, The Wasted, The Chernobyl Babies, Rotten Boi!s, Soapcharge, The Wheelz, Pig Food, Clockwork Droogs, and more.

While not all of these bands are Japanese, Pogo Punk evolved into a global phenomenon during the 2000s, transcending geographical boundaries.

DIY Conspiracy is Ad-Free

We don't serve annoying ads. If you find value in the content we produce, please consider making a donation to help us keep the site running.

Donate (PayPal)

Read this next